Monday, September 7, 2009

New Uses for Ginger

Certain ingredients always remind me of certain types of food or certain times of year and it seems strange to even think of using them in other ways. Pumpkin, of course, reminds me of the entire fall season; tomatoes equal Italy in the summer and sweet potatoes remind me of October.

When I think of ginger, I normally think of either Asian inspired dishes or wintery desserts (aka gingersnaps, or gingerbread men, you get the picture). I've really started to like working with ginger lately, however, so when I came across this recipe for fresh ginger ice cream in David Lebovitz's most recent book, The Perfect Scoop, I was itching to try it while the summer ice cream season was still in full swing. Since this was Labor Day Weekend and the last official summer weekend, I figured: what better occasion? (although our school does NOT give us the day off....)

The recipe itself is a bit on the complicated side as far as ice creams go, which is not saying much. Its a custard base so you actually have to complete several steps including steeping the fresh ginger in a milk and cream mixture, cooling the mixture and making a custard base before actually churning the ice cream. This being said, it was remarkably easy, mostly because of David Lebovitz's great instructions.

After I had finished part of the recipe and was letting it cool in the refrigerator, I became a bit worried that it would be too rich--I generally don't like custard based ice creams, I feel they're too rich--and decided to add some crumbled up, store-bought gingersnaps. Man, was this a good decision! It turns out that the ice cream was actually really delicious and would have been fine on its own, but the gingersnaps added a wonderful change of texture and added spiciness to the otherwise cool and perfectly gingery ice cream. All in all, I think this was another great success in the world of homemade ice cream and will definitely make it again. Since I personally associate ginger with the holiday season, I think it would be great for that time of year as well.

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